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FORZANI, John Michael

April 5, 1947 – October 30, 2014

A loving husband, father, brother, friend, legendary entrepreneur and generous philanthropist. It is with great sadness that the Forzani family announces the passing of John Forzani our husband, father, brother, and friend.

John was born in Calgary on April 5, 1947 to his parents Audrey and John Forzani, middle brother to Joe and Tom. He grew up in Calgary attending Saint Francis High School where he started his football career with the Saint Francis Browns.

John was offered several football scholarships but chose to follow his brother Joe to Utah State University, soon to be followed by younger brother Tom. He played left guard and was a tri captain for the Utah State Aggies, graduating with degrees in business and physical education. The highlight of his time at Utah State was meeting and marrying, 43 years ago, the love of his life, Linda (nee Larsen). John was the proud father of Michael and Jodi, the other loves of his life.

He returned to Calgary after signing with the Stampeders and played Left Guard for 6 years, 1971-1977. The Forzani brothers were lucky enough to all play for the Stampeders from 1972 – 1976, the only time in CFL history that 3 brothers have played on the same team at the same time.

In 1974 John opened Forzani’s Locker Room which later became the publicly traded Forzani Group. In 2011 the Company was sold to Canadian Tire. Perhaps the achievement he was most proud of was starting the Mother’s Day Run in 1977. It has raised millions for local charities including the establishment of the Forzani McPhail Colon Cancer Screening Center. Further recognition was bestowed when both University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business and McGill University, both awarded him Honorary Doctorates.

John was an avid sportsman and had a passion for the game of golf. He had a fantastic sense of humour and loved a good party where he was often the center of attention. He had a quick wit and always had a perfect one-liner for every occasion. Charisma, intellect and curiosity were hallmarks of his love for life and the people he touched on his journey. There is a hole in our world that will take some time to repair.

A Private Service for family and invited friends only will be held on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. A Celebration of John’s Life will be held on Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at The Red and White Club (1833 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary, AB). All are welcome, please come and celebrate John with us. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Forzani Foundation would be appreciated. (www.forzanifoundation.com).

In living memory of John Forzani, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Larraine Romanchuk :

    Linda, and family,
    John was a gentleman, kind and compassionate. He always had a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. We are all blessed from knowing him. John and Linda were so supportive to Ken and I when he was ill and I will never forget that. My life is better from knowing him and hundreds more can say the same as well. My thoughts and prayers are with Linda, Jodi and Michael every day.
    Larraine Romanchuk

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  2. Larraine Romanchuk :

    Tom Forzani,
    I know how how much fun you had together as brothers, how much you loved him and I am sorry for your loss, Larraine Romanchuk

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  3. Chris (Ferrero) Marino :

    To Linda, Joe and all the Forzani family:

    It is so hard to find any peace with what has happened as John, who was the cream of the cream of the cream in every aspect of life, has left the world far too soon. I reflect on the legacy that resulted because of Antonio Fornasero and Maria Lucia Ferrero, a young Italian couple from Piozzo, who made the big decision to leave Italy in 1907 for Calgary, Alberta. Their siblings followed, Audrey was born in Calgary, and then her boys, resulting in John’s huge impact on the world. So much to be proud of and to try, as best we can, to emulate in our lives. John will continue to live in the hearts of everyone he touched. A great man. One of the best.

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  4. Growing up in Calgary and hearing the Forzani name gave a strong sense of home. Thank you for all you did and for all you were. A true Canadian Legend! Extending good wishes from Phoenix, Arizona.

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  5. The phrase “larger than life” was made for John Forzani. He lived life to the fullest, loved his family unconditionally and had a passion that was infectious for everything he did. Quite simply he made the world a better place and brought a smile to all of us lucky enough to cross paths with the big man. RIP John, and to John’s family, may the joy of a life well lived be some consolation during this difficult time. He will be missed but never forgotten

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  6. Dear Linda, Jodi and Michael
    Cannot explain how sorry I am for your loss. One fantastic Husband and Dad.
    I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts.
    Love You all
    Jim Phelan

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  7. Dear Tom and Forzani Family
    Calgary has surely lost a great citizen and family man. He surely made us all proud to be Stampeders and Calgarians.. He will surely be missed by all he touched.
    Thanks John for your humour, generosity and compassion.
    Mike McTague

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  8. Andrea Langfeldt :

    Dear Linda, Jodi and Michael,

    I am very sorry for your loss. I have such fond memories of our times together in Windermere when we were kids. It was a lot of fun and your family are a big part of that picture in my childhood. I remember John as an incredibly funny man, he loved a good party, his friends and family. I can only imagine the hole this leaves in your hearts.

    You are in all our thoughts.

    Andrea Langfeldt

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  9. Dear Linda, Jodi, Michael, Joe and Tom,

    Connie and I grieve with you over the loss of your husband, father, brother and friend. Our hearts are broken over the fact that he is gone from us at such an early age. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you in the days ahead.

    As you know, John was a remarkable person in so many ways. He accomplished so much in so many different fields during the course of his lifetime. He was my teammate and my roommate at Utah State University as well as being the best man in our wedding. We spent so much of our time together during our college years. Even back then, he was always telling me about the great things he intended to do with his life. Here we are all these many years later and we can see that his vision for the future came true.

    While at Utah State, Connie introduce John and Linda and lined them up on their first date. A romance blossomed and “the rest is history,” as they say.

    Blessings,

    Phil and Connie Olsen

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  10. Peter K Shaver :

    I had the pleasure of spending time with John during my tenure on the board of the CSGA. During the past week I have read many well deserved accolades about John. What , however , really sticks out in my mind is his sense of humour and his remarkable joke telling abilities. John always had time for everyone and was genuinely interested in what each person was doing & what they had to say. One always looked forward to another encounter with John. My thoughts & prayers are with the family at this difficult time. Peter Shaver

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  11. Leslie Shikaze :

    Linda, Jodi, Michael:

    I was so saddened to hear of the much-too-early passing of John. I feel fortunate to have been able to work at FGL under his leadership. He was positive, encouraging, funny. He was ‘present’ and approachable, down to earth. There was an energy when he entered the room or addressed staff. He made the incredibly hard work involved in sporting goods retail rewarding. His booming voice was a hallmark. More than anything I respected the way he put the success and viability of the company above personal interests–and that he gave back to the community in so many ways. I don’t know if I have met anyone with a bigger heart than John. My sincerest condolences for your loss. He touched many.

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  12. Jennifer & Jay Todesco :

    Linda and family,

    Our deepest sympathies. We are thinking of you during this difficult time.

    Jen & Jay Todesco

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  13. Bill and Lori Oliver :

    Linda and family, Joe and Tom,
    We were saddened to hear of John’s passing. We always enjoyed seeing and visiting with John. He was a very special person and he will be greatly missed by all.
    Bill and Lori Oliver

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  14. J.T. Jeffrey Thomas :

    You can sure tell the impact someone has had by the people who remember them.
    I moved away and havent seen John in 20 years but can still feel his impact and energy. Ive even met people in Ontario who played football with him! He was a good man and touched many people with his big spirit.
    I was in the sporting goods industry and of course knew him socially. Didnt everyone!
    My thoughts are with his family and friends,
    Cheers John
    J.T. Jeffrey Thomas

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  15. To All the Forzani Clan,
    So very sorry to hear of John’s passing. A great Calgarian and a great guy. John left the kind of legacy that all of us should aspire to, and in that sense he lived a very full life, despite his early passing. My thoughts are with you all.

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  16. Marisa Viviani :

    To the Forzani Family,

    I had the privilege of working with John while he served as a CSGA board member in the late 90’s. All I can say was “what a character” full of humor and at the same time very dedicated in what he strongly believed in. My sincere condoleances to the entire Forzani family and to his friends. RIP, I know you will be surely missed.

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  17. John was a remarkable man, and he will be greatly missed. I hope the coming days will bring you rest, give you peace and help you draw strength from the caring hearts around you. Deepest sympathy to the Forzani family and friends.

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  18. Jane and Michael Evans :

    Dear Linda , Michael , Jodi , Joe and Tommy :

    We were saddened to hear of John’s sudden passing. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time . He was an outstanding man in every respect and will be missed .

    Jane and Michael Evans

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  19. Bob and Candy Jordan :

    Linda, Jodi, Michael, Joe, Tom and families:
    We were so shocked to learn of John’s passing. He was a phenomenal man in all the important areas of his life. He created and lived his dream to the fullest and he will be absolutely missed by all who knew and were associated with him. Please accept our deepest condolences on your families’ loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours during this time of sadness and grieving. May your love for John and each other and the fond remembrances of your life together allow you peace in the days ahead. With our heartfelt sympathy and prayers. Bob and Candy Jordan.

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  20. Dear Tom
    Sorry to hear of the sudden departure of your brother John. I will always remember him as a Happy; Joy filled person. You and all the Forzani family are a real GEM in the Calgary spirit. I’m proud to have spent a little time with you. A Big Hug to all the family.

    Jay McARA

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  21. Vint & Guyann Larsen :

    Dear Linda and Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Even though we are far away we want you to know we love you and thought so much of John. What a great man! We just missed seeing John at Al’s Grand Opening. I am sure that Big Bob was there in heaven to greet him and give him one of his huge hugs. Cindy and Kevin send their love also. It was great to see you last year at the Aggie game and get a hug from you. May the Lord bless you and your family and help you through this hard time. We love you.
    Vint and Guyann Larsen and Family

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  22. I was very sad to hear about the passing of John Forzani. He was a great Calgarian and touched the lives of many of its citizens. As a young boy I was a big Stampeders fan (back when they were the only game in town) and I can remember watching training camps at McMahon Stadium and pulling for John to make the roster. Those were very good teams back then and John was a great addition to the offensive line.

    As a former Dino Football player, I can remember buying my first pair of artificial turf football cleats from John at Forzani’s Locker Room on 17th Ave in 1975. His commitment to client service back then was evident as I sought an exchange of the cleats after wearing them for most of a season due to “deficiencies” in the sole of the shoes. After a slight hesitation, he was willing offer an exchange and upgrade to a new pair of cleats at no cost. It was this commitment that obviously lead him to be such a successful businessmen. It was amazing to watch the Locker Room become such a successful venture.

    As a young adult I participated in several Mother’s Day runs. In those days the start and finish was at McMahon Stadium and was always a great event.

    I wish to convey my condolences to the Forzani family, we have lost a great man and member of our community.

    Rob Ferguson

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  23. Paul "Gump" Edwards :

    Linda and the Forzani Family:
    Like everyone we were shocked and in disbelief to hear of John’s passing. If you look up “icon” in the dictionary you will see John’s big smile!! Not only an icon of the sporting goods industry but an icon of community, philanthropy, Canadian football and of course family.
    My heartfelt sympathy and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
    Paul Edwards

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  24. Joanne & Bill Bradley :

    Linda,

    Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family on the untimely loss of John. He will be missed. Take care of each other.

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  25. Ralph &Sheila Gurevitch :

    Dear Linda & Family
    We were very sorry to hear of the untimely passing of John. What a terrible loss not only for you & for your family but for the entire community. It was an honour for us to have known him. He will be missed . God Bless
    Warmly,
    Ralph & Sheila Gurevitch

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  26. Jim Barbaro Jr. :

    Joe, Tom, Linda & Family..
    It is with great sadness to hear of John’s sudden passing, my sincerest condolences to all of you, take care and may God bless.
    Jim Barbaro Jr.

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  27. Doreen Robertson :

    Linda, Jodi and Mike,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and wishing you strength during this difficult time.
    Doreen

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  28. Robert &Christine Leight :

    We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. God bless.

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  29. Dr. Charles H. Tator :

    To the Family of the Late John Forzani,
    The Canadian Sports Concussion Research Project is grateful to the John Forzani family for facilitating our research into the problem of brain injuries in sports and recreation. The wonderful generosity of John and his family will result in the advancement of the science of determining the role of concussions in brain degeneration. Your contribution is a marvelous example of the “right way to do things”.
    The discussions that took place before John’s passing and afterwards are a model of excellent community spirit and public service. Certainly, this is the best example of the “Canadian” way to do things.
    The scientists and staff of the Canadian Sports Concussion Project are very grateful, and we sincerely extend our condolences to the family.

    Yours sincerely,

    Charles H. Tator, CM, MD, PhD, FRCSC
    Project Leader, Canadian Sports Concussion Project

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  30. Domenic Stante :

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Forzani family. John was a stellar individual who left an incredible legacy. He will missed.
    Domenic Stante & Family

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  31. Jean Gallelli :

    I am deeply sorry for your family with the loss of John. He was such a good man and I knew him. He did so much for the community. I am thinking of your family. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the Celebration of John’s Life, but your family will be in my thoughts. I want you to know how very, very sorry I am.
    Jean Gallelli

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  32. robert langlois :

    Sincere condolence to all the family. John had always a big smile and was always
    willing to work with you to find the best way to make things happen and be
    successful in life. A person that will never be forgotten.

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  33. Linda & Murray Nussbaum and Family :

    Whose was that booming voice?
    There can be no mistake
    It shook you to the core.

    Twas the voice of hope
    And it will continue to ring
    In our minds and hearts and souls evermore.

    Dear Linda, Jodi and Michael,

    We want you know that we are sending you all our strength.

    Linda, you and John have enriched our lives (and thousands of others) in a way that can only be described as truly inspirational. Your humanity continues to be our benchmark that we continuously strive for.

    When we need guidance, we say, “What would Linda and John have said, done or how would they have handled themselves?” You are a beacon of light.

    Please know that you will always have a shoulder, pillow and a home-cooked meal with us and please let us know if we can help in any way.

    P.S. My sister Lulu said “I met them (Linda and John) briefly at your home, yet they left an indelible stamp on me… as you sum it up… John and Linda are an inspirational couple.”

    Love and huge hugs from us all to you and the entire family,

    Linda, Murray, Melissa, Denny, Laura, Bruno, Lulu and Richard
    Nussbaum / Fabris Family

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  34. Linda, Mike and Jodi
    Joe and Tom…
    So sorry to hear of John’s passing. Cherish the wonderful memories you have of him and keep him in your hearts for ever. I have very fond memories of us all growing up together. I will never forget him. Please accept my deepest sympathy.
    Peter Barbaro….

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  35. Aunt Linda, I am truly sorry and wish all a success path forward, I remember the property of yours Linda where we spent lovely time all of the family and I do remember to this day, how proud I am that all three of my cousins played for the Calgary Stamps……I was only 10 Years old……..LOVE……Ray Davidson Junior

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  36. My prayers to Linda, Joe and Tommy and the rest of the Forzani Family. Words cannot express the loss you are feeling. The City of Calgary has lost a true son. I will always remember John for his smile, humor and how he made a person feel like they were the most important person in the world when he spoke to you.

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  37. Liz & Carlo Duri(Vetere) :

    Linda, Mike, and Jodi, Joe and Tom.

    Words cannot express the loss you are feeling. I will always remember John when he came to the T.D. Bank in Bridgeland and he always smiled.

    Liz & Carlo from Italy

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